#20: The-Dream Love King
RELEASE DATE? May 2010
PRODUCERS/COLLABORATORS: Tricky Stewart, Los Da Mystro
WHAT WE KNOW: His first two albums—2007's Love/Hate and 2009's Love Vs. Money—were R&B masterpieces (LVM was our #2 album of 2009), so it's pretty safe to say that the third installment in the trilogy will be more of the same (which is a good thing). Love King—Dream's supposed "final album"—was being mixed last weekend, so expect a lead single to leak any day now.
#19: Justice TBD
RELEASE DATE? "Early 2009"
WHAT WE KNOW: Three years ago, their gritty electro-house debut peeked its head up into the mainstream and warmed a hell of a lot of indie rock and hip-hop kids to dance music for the first time. But after touring, releasing a live album and a handful of dope remixes in '08, the duo went radio silent. Last summer, Billboard reported that they would be a part of the relaunched Elektra Records roster, with a new album in "early 2010." Whenever it comes out, we're expecting something next-level. "We are at the beginning of knowledge about production and music-making," Xavier de Rosnay told Pitchfork about their new material back in '08. "It's changing every two months."
#18: Gorillaz Plastic Beach
RELEASE DATE? March 2010
PRODUCERS/COLLABORATORS: De La Soul, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Barry Gibb, Bobby Womack
WHAT WE KNOW: Our favorite animated band is ready to take over 2010 with their first new album in 5 years and a headlining performance at Coachella. It's gonna be hard for Damon and Jamie to top the success of their first two—which sold a whopping 15 million combined—but it will no doubt be another genre-bending mix with mass appeal. Damon premiered some rough demos on Radio 1 last January, before going off to record with the Syrian National Orchestra. The requisite eclectic guest list was announced, and Mos Def said a track he's on is "one of the greatest thing's I've ever done." Okay, we're excited.
#17: B.o.B. The Adventures of Bobby Ray
RELEASE DATE? May 25, 2010
PRODUCERS/COLLABORATORS: Eminem, Lupe Fiasco, T.I., Rivers Cuomo, JR Rotem
WHAT WE KNOW: It seems like we've been waiting on B.o.B.'s album for years (listen to Shake's excellent compilation Should Have Been The First Album to hear all the hits he's made in the meantime) but it looks like his debut is finally dropping at the end of May. After sorta changing his name, aligning with Grand Hustle, and dropping a pop-friendly single "Nothin' On You," all the stars finally seem to be aligning. He's been working with everybody, and he's one of the most versitile artists in hip-hop, so it's hard to say exactly what will end up on the finished product. Expect the unexpected.
LISTEN: "Nothin' On You" f/ Bruno Mars
#16: Ghostface, Raekwon & Method Man The Wu-Massacre
RELEASE DATE? First Half of 2010
PRODUCERS/COLLABORATORS: RZA, Inspectah Deck
WHAT WE KNOW: If there's one thing we learned from the fuckery of 8 Diagrams, its that a Wu-Tang reunion is a bad idea. Luckily, Raekwon went a long way towards repairing the Wu brand last year with his shockingly good Cuban Linx sequel, setting the stage for another dream Clan fan project: The Wu-Massacre. Let's face it, Rae, Ghost and Meth have always been the crew's real stars, each as lyrically sharp as they are charismatic, so an album with all three should be an easy win for Def Jam. P.S.— they're looking for a group name!
LISTEN: "Meth Vs. Chef Pt 2"